The need for proper Asthma training in First Aid

Asthma has become a hot topic recently.  Last week the Telegraph reported that two in three asthma deaths “could have been prevented”. 1000 people die each year from asthma.  That’s three every day.  Two of those deaths could have been prevented.

There are currently 5.4million people in the UK that suffer from Asthma.  That’s just over 8.5% of the total population.  Asthma attacks can happen anytime, anywhere.  It’s likely you know somebody who suffers from the condition.  That’s why we include first aid for asthma in our First Aid, CPR and Medical Emergencies courses.

Below are some of the facts and figures about asthma (courtesy of

Asthma is still a killer

The Royal College of Physicians recently published a report on the public health impact of asthma.  Currently, deaths in the UK caused by asthma are amongst the highest in Europe.

So why is this?

The Telegraph wrote a great piece called “Doctor’s diary: asthma and preventable death”. The article claims that ‘nearly half of the fatalities apparently occur in patients who had not sought medical help’. I highly recommend you read the article.

What to do during an asthma attack

So now we know the extent of the problem, do you know how to act during an asthma attack? Below are the recommended steps to follow during an attack (suitable for both children and adults).

  1. Take one or two puffs of your reliever inhaler (usually blue) immediately
  2. Sit down and try to take slow, steady breaths
  3. If you do not start to feel better, take two puffs of your reliever inhaler (one puff at a time) every two minutes: you can take up to ten puffs
  4. If you do not feel better after following steps 1-3 then call 999
  5. If an ambulance does not arrive within 10 minutes and you still feel unwell, repeat step 3

If your symptoms do improve and you do not need to call 999, you must go and see a doctor or asthma nurse within 24 hours.

What to do if any of the following happens

  1. Your reliever isn’t helping or lasting over four hours
  2. Your symptoms are getting worse (a cough, breathlessness, wheeze or you have a tight chest)
  3. You’re too breathless or it’s difficult to speak, eat or sleep
  4. Your breathing gets faster and it feels like you can’t get your breath in properly
  5. Your child complains of a stomach ache

You have to seek medical help, even at night.  If you go to A&E or are admitted to hospital, the make sure you take details of your medicines with you if possible.

For more information, has some great advice.

Useful Resources

There are two great resources that all first aiders and asthma sufferers should read. shows the proper inhaler technique and demonstrations for all types of inhaler and spacer devices. offers some great advice on the signs and symptoms of Asthma plus more information about the condition itself. 

Asthma in first aid courses

With so many preventable deaths occurring from the condition it is so important that as many people as possible can recognise the signs and symptoms of an attack, and how to properly act in an asthma emergency.

We offer training in relation to asthma in all our First Aid courses, as well as our CPR and AED sessions for dental and GP practices, and in greater depth in our Medical Emergencies training.

The importance of AED training for GP and Dental practices

Teaching Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and how to use Automated External Defibrillators (AED) within dental practices and GP clinics is extremely important.  All dentists, doctors, practice nurses, dental nurses, hygienists and even receptionists should know how to act properly in a medical emergency.

A story that came out this week goes to show the importance of good training.  Simon Walker had a heart attack in the waiting room of a dental clinic.  It was the receptionist (Charlotte Anderson-Hughs) who was first on scene and with the help of dentist (Chandra Metha) performed CPR and used their defibrillator to restart the man’s heart.

The actions of the dental staff saved Simon’s life.  Your CPR training needs to include how to properly use AED’s. 

 AED’s in the community:

The use of AED’s is becoming more and more common as they are now being installed in more public spaces such as:

·         Train stations
·         Airports
·         Leisure Centres
·         Supermarkets (ASDA will soon install AED’s in all their major stores)

It was recently announced in Scotland that defibrillators will be installed in all NHS dental practices.  That means an extra 970 defibrillators in the community.  AED’s are even now being placed inside old telephone boxes.

AED locator is a fantastic website that promotes where new AED’s have been installed around the UK.  You can use the site to locate where your nearest AED is.

There is now increasing pressure coming from the general public to have AED’s installed in schools due to cases in which children have died.  The Department for Education just announced a plan to allow schools to purchase defibrillators at a lower cost.

There is strong evidence to suggest that defibrillation within the first 3-5 minutes of a cardiac arrest significantly improves the chance of survival from a cardiac arrest. For every minute’s delay in defibrillation the chances of survival for the patient decrease by 10-12%.

That means if you are first on the scene, you have a huge role to play in the survival of the person having a cardiac arrest.

 Hands-on AED training:

These figures and information from the Resuscitation Council UK reiterate the importance of early defibrillation and this can only be achieved by easy access to AED’s and high numbers of people trained in their use.

Book onto one of our CPR courses today to ensure you know how to act in an emergency.  We have two courses available, one tailored for GP staff, and another for Dental staff. On our CPR courses, we provide hands-on training for AED’s.  It gives our students the confidence and knowledge to act in any medical emergency.  Also, it makes our courses more interactive.  This helps promote critical thinking, communication and coordination of care.

Our first Sports Trauma Course with the new Ageas Bowl partnership

We ran our first Sports Trauma Management course at the Ageas Bowl last weekend as the start of an ongoing partnership with the stadium and Medical Director Dan Young. The stadium has fantastic facilities and we will be running a range of our courses at the stadium over the coming months.

We will be offering our medical training courses to Gp and Dental staff in the Hampshire area and also first aid courses to the community and industry.  We are also confident that our close relationship with the ECB will enable us to run a number of successful first aid and medical courses based at the stadium for anyone involved with cricket.

We are expanding into new areas:

Over the last 4 years we have expanded our services and now regularly run courses throughout the UK, particularly our popular Sports Trauma Management course and are now happy to run a course anywhere in the UK if requested. We’ve had a number of requests to run courses outside the UK and it won’t be long before we run our first courses abroad.

Great first course:

The sports Trauma Management course at the Ageas Bowl was a great success with a range of enthusiastic students attending from a wide range of backgrounds and experience.  Lisa Sharratt will shortly be taking part in the great north swim, good luck to her, while Julie-anne Grady will be returning to work with St Peters football club in Jersey.

The course was great fun as well as achieving the required standard for all students to receive their Sports Trauma Management certificates.

Looking forward to more courses:

The Ageas Bowl is now taking shape and although it was a cloudy showery day, Sunday was the first home game of the season for Hampshire who played Surrey and drew.  The Ageas bowl is very impressive and will be further improved when the Hilton hotel and 18 hole golf course are completed.

We are really looking forward to working closely both with the staff of the Ageas Bowl and the wider community of Hampshire over the coming months. We are happy to discuss any of our courses with anyone who would like to learn more about any aspect of our medical training either as a Health professional, member of a business or involved with grassroots cricket.

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